How to use the 4Ps,
with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
What is marketing?
The definition that many marketers learn as they start out in the industry is:
Putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.
It's simple! You just need to create a product that a particular group of people want, put it on sale some place that those same people visit regularly, and price it at a level which matches the value they feel they get out of it; and do all that at a time they want to buy. Then you've got it made!
There's a lot of truth in this idea. However, a lot of hard work needs to go into finding out what customers want, and identifying where they do their shopping. Then you need to figure out how to produce the item at a price that represents value to them, and get it all to come together at the critical time.
But if you get just one element wrong, it can spell disaster. You could be left promoting a car with amazing fuel-economy in a country where fuel is very cheap; or publishing a textbook after the start of the new school year, or selling an item at a price that's too high – or too low – to attract the people you're targeting.
The marketing mix is a good place to start when you are thinking through your plans for a product or service, and it helps you avoid these kinds of mistakes.
The marketing mix and the 4 Ps of marketing are often used as synonyms for each other. In fact, they are not necessarily the same thing.
"Marketing mix" is a general phrase used to describe the different kinds of choices organizations have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to market. The 4Ps is one way – probably the best-known way – of defining the marketing mix, and was first expressed in 1960 by E J McCarthy.
The 4Ps are:
A good way to understand the 4Ps is by the questions that you need to ask to define your marketing mix. Here are some questions that will help you understand and define each of the four elements:
The 4Ps model is just one of many marketing mix lists that have been developed over the years. And, whilst the questions we have listed above are key, they are just a subset of the detailed probing that may be required to optimize your marketing mix.
Amongst the other marketing mix models have been developed over the years is Boom and Bitner's 7Ps, sometimes called the extended marketing mix, which include the first 4 Ps, plus people, processes and physical layout decisions.
Another marketing mix approach is Lauterborn's 4Cs, which presents the elements of the marketing mix from the buyer's, rather than the seller's, perspective. It is made up of Customer needs and wants (the equivalent of product), Cost (price), Convenience (place) and Communication (promotion). In this article, we focus on the 4Ps model as it is the most well-recognized, and contains the core elements of a good marketing mix.
The marketing mix model can be used to help you decide how to take a new offer to market. It can also be used to test your existing marketing strategy. Whether you are considering a new or existing offer, follow the steps below help you define and improve your marketing mix.
Check through your answers to make sure they are based on sound knowledge and facts. If there are doubts about your assumptions, identify any market research, or facts and figures that you may need to gather.
The marketing mix helps you define the marketing elements for successfully positioning your market offer.
One of the best known models is the Four Ps, which helps you define your marketing options in terms of product, place, price and promotion. Use the model when you are planning a new venture, or evaluating an existing offer, to optimize the impact with your target market.
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